Written by: Mandy Hill
After both Sophia and Spencer’s premature deliveries and their extended stays in the NICU, our conversations about a fourth child were usually of mixed emotions and very differing opinions. My husband worked his best skills to convince me that three kids was it; but my heart still longed for a family of six.
Shortly after my thirtieth birthday, on family day holiday, we learned that I was expecting again. From the moment I learned about this little one, The Lord filled my heart with that peace I was now becoming quite familiar with.
The Lord has been so good to me.
My obstetrician followed my pregnancy quite closely this time because of my history. He shared with my husband and I the various measures that he had planned to take in order to prevent another preterm birth.
Around twenty-five weeks they started. Contractions, that is. I was given steroid shots in my hips and my OB prescribed two medications for me to take to keep contractions at bay. I had seven UTI’s throughout my pregnancy and these infections were likely the culprit for such frequent bouts of labour.
After multiple trips to the ER between weeks 25 and 33, I was admitted to the the high-risk unit of the hospital under close observation. The day after I was admitted I noticed our baby’s heartrate was dipping into the 80’s. After watching the monitor for several minutes I called my nurse and soon after, she the doctor. After the doctor explained to me the urgency of the situation, my nurse insisted I call my husband to come in (he was at work). When I asked why, she shared that I would be needing an ultrasound and if the ultrasound showed any complications I would need an emergency c-section. Such a section would require I be put under general anesthetic and the doctor would have the baby out in under ten minutes. This possible c-section remained a serious option for almost 48 hours until I was transferred to the floor.
Each day true contractions would register on the machines and after five days of these contractions, the nurses began administering doses of morphine via IM injection to control pain and cease labor. They generally worked, until Sunday September 14. At just 34 weeks and two days my labor was not stopping; despite their efforts.
I was moved from the floor back to the high risk delivery unit and my husband and good friend met me there. After about a half an hour of my arrival to the high risk unit, my baby’s heartrate started to taking large dips during each contraction again. We watched his heartrate dip into the 50’s from a healthy measure of 130 for several moments at a time.
My water was broken at 11:30pm and for the two hours following I endured my hardest labour yet. At 1:47am on Monday September 15, we joyfully welcomed our third son:
Grayson Lawrence-Blake, into our family!
Grayson, while tiny, was acting as if he had reached his due date. He scored a 9 on the APGAR scale and needed no aids for breathing! I was able to hold him for a few minutes and his Daddy was able to hold him for quite a while! The fact that he was doing so well, at almost six weeks early is a miracle!
Grayson was brought to the NICU where he remained for the next two weeks. His lungs continued to excel, vitals remained stable and he began to grow.
The day after delivery, I was discharged for home. I had left the hospital with empty arms twice before that, but it certainly did not get any easier. I was incredibly emotional and so thankful for my husbands support. Also very thankful for the blessing of several praying friends. At different times I received text messages of encouragement and support, messages that I kept on my phone to reread when discouragement would creep in. Those messages became a wonderful source of encouragement and hope during those long two weeks!
On day three of Grayson’s life, he began to show signs of infection. This source of this infection was never identified, however, I am thankful for the doctor and nurses who very diligently took every possibility into consideration. He was treated with a wide-spectrum antibiotic for seven days and improved significantly over the seven days.
At day 14, we were heading home, Grayson safely stowed in his reserved spot in our mini-van! God had seen the desires of my heart to be a family of six, and He made those dreams a reality.
My heart is filled to overflowing.
Sometimes in life we face a multitude of discouraging situations. In all of my experience with such situations I have learned two very powerful things:
1) Nothing is too big for God to handle; He ALREADY has the victory over it all.
2) Even in our most devastating moments, God can grow and mould you in His character. The key is allowing Him to do so, and trusting Him through the highs AND the lows.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5 NIV)